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Day: May 6, 2011

The Twohundredpercent Play-Off Jamboree: Fleetwood Town 0-2 AFC Wimbledon

The history of football in Fleetwood, Lancashire, is one of boom and bust. The town’s original club, Fleetwood FC, renamed itself Fleetwood Town and were founder members of the Northern Premier League in 1968, before folding in 1976. A new club sprang up the following year, reached the final of the FA Vase in 1985 and won back its place in the Premier Division of the Northern Premier League three years later. It too folded in 1996. The latest incarnation of what we might regard as effectively the same club was founded a year later, and has spent the last fourteen years climbing the same slippery pole as its predecessors. This time last year, they were winning the Blue Square North play-off final against Alfreton Town. Flush with the cash of chairman Andy Pilley, they turned professional during the summer and their first season in the Blue Square Premier has been a resounding success. Their ground, Highbury (the Arsenal links – though not formal – don’t end there; Fleetwood also wear red shirts with white sleeves), has a shiny new stand and the team has rose to fifth place in the Blue Square Premier in their first season in it, setting them up for a play-off semi-final against AFC Wimbledon. Wimbledon, of course, have been here for a year longer than Fleetwood. They led the table for much of...

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Cafe Calcio On Twohundredpercent: Mannerism And Pop Art

We have a double episode of the Cafe Calcio Football Art Masterclass for you this evening, featuring Mannerism and Pop Art. Don’t forget that you can listen live to Cafe Calcio on Resonance 104.4 FM in the London area from 9pm this evening, and if you’re not in London you can still listen by clicking here.  The show is also repeated at 11am tomorrow, and a podcast will be available next week. Mannerism Artists of the Early and High Renaissance developed their characteristic styles from the observation of nature and the formulation of a pictorial science. When Mannerism (from the Italian maniera, meaning “style” or “manner”) matured after 1520 all the representational artistic problems appeared to have been solved. Whereas artists of the past had based their work in nature, the Mannerists were the first who deliberately referenced other artists; they looked first for a style and found a manner. In Mannerist paintings, compositions can have no focal point, space can be ambiguous, figures can be characterized by an athletic bending and twisting with distortions or an elastic elongation of the limbs, bizarre posturing on one hand, graceful poses on the other. The compositions were frequently jammed by clashing colors which resulted in Mannerist artwork seeming instable and restless. There is also a fondness for allegories that have lascivious undertones. Key aspects of Mannerism in El Greco for example...

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Triumph of the Middle Class?

As another Premiership campaign winds down, most of the attention turns to those pitched battles near the bottom of the table, where clubs play a game of Musical Chairs to see who is the last one standing, or at the top where last gasps are exerted in the pursuit of shiny mugs festooned with ribbons. In a season that might very well end in Manchester United’s remarkable achievement of securing a 19th first division title, the general feeling has been that this was by and large an unremarkable year. Even during United’s extended unbeaten run to begin the season, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side was slightly derided for winning ugly, being lucky, and in general benefiting from a reduction in quality out of other title contenders. The current behemoths of the Premiership appeared to be decidedly weaker than in previous years. Fielding players who were still a bit tired from last summer’s exertions in South Africa, clubs like Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal failed to exude that aura of invincibility when other clubs visited their grounds. As the season progressed, the Anfield outfit improved remarkably from a dreadful start but not quite enough to reclaim its world beater credentials. Arsenal found difficulty in taking full points off sides far down the table, thus obtaining a license to dispense and lid beverages. Carlo Ancelotti obviously lost the ability to manage when he sat his earthquake-proof arse on last season’s title-winning whiteboard as...

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Newcastle Fans United For Plymouth Argyle

Just over a year ago, Plymouth Argyle played Newcastle United in the Championship at Home Park. It was an emotional night all round, as Newcastle were promoted but, at the same time, Plymouth were relegated. Newcastle’s supporters could have been forgiven a little catharsis as their team returned to the Premier League after a year in exile, while Plymouth were facing an uncertain future after dropping from the league that they had been in since 2004. A and a week on, Plymouth Argyle are in adminstration and facing next season in League Two, whilst Newcastle are comfortable in the Premier League with games to spare. The memories of that evening in Devon, however, have died hard with some Newcastle supporters, who have produced this video, urging their fellow supporters to donate money to The Argyle Fans Trust, who are desperately raising money to try and buy a stake in their club. Much has been written over the last few weeks about the nature of football support, fanaticism and some of the less salubrious aspects of the behaviour of some – perhaps many – of us. However, as a group, football supporters are more than capable of acts of kindness towards their fellow supporters. We have suggested on this site before that the rivalries and mutual loathings that have long been part of our game but have, in recent years,...

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